iPhone 8 Plus vs. Galaxy Note 8: The Great SmartPhone Battle

The Great SmartPhone War is On Once Again

Galaxy Note 8The rivalry between Apple and Samsung is the most talked about face-off in the smartphone industry. Recently, both companies release their flagship models for the year. At the end of August, Samsung, the Korean tech giant, unveiled the last version of its Galaxy Note series: The Note 8—a powerhouse smartphone with all the tools you’d expect a Note-series phone to have.

With Samsung releasing its latest smartphone offering, it was only a matter before Apple came up with own smartphone offering for the year. So, on September 22nd, Apple, the American tech company, released the latest version of the iPhone: the iPhone 8 plus. Ever since then, people have been comparing the Galaxy Note 8 with the iPhone 8 plus to determine which phone’s better. We don’t want to be bias. So, we won’t say outright which one’s better. Instead, we’re going to compare a few aspects of the two phones to help you make an informed decision.

Design and Screen

As far as the design is concerned, and iPhone lovers may cringe on this fact, there is no contest—the Note 8 wins hands down. The iPhone 8 plus screen is essentially the same as its iPhone 7 plus counterpart, albeit with one crucial difference. Unlike the previous year’s model, the iPhone 8 has a 5.5in Full HD LCD display. Additionally, the iPhone 8 Plus boasts the Apple’s True Tone Technology—the same tech used in the recent iPads. This technology automatically adjusts the screen’s white balance to make reading easier on the eyes in various conditions.

Designed to be durable, the iPhone 8 Plus is water resistant and has a noticeably wider and heavier screen than the Note 8. The iPhone 8 Plus is available in three different colors: silver, gold, and space gray. The iPhone 8 Plus’ 1080p LCD screen offers a wide color gamut and is bright and fairly colorful. But, most people aren’t too impressed with the display and this is one of the reasons Apple is moving to OLED for the iPhone X.

We now come to the Note 8, probably one of the sexiest phones you can buy today. The Infinity Display of the Note 8 stretches it curves and nearly edge to edge, as it meets the side. Compared to the iPhone 8 Plus’ LCD screen, the Super AMOLED screen on the Note 8 is not just sharper, but it also renders more of the SRGB color gamut. This is 204 percent compared to the 122.5 percent for the iPhone 8 Plus. Though, the display of the iPhone 8 is slightly more accurate with a Delta-E rating of 0.25, compared to 0.5 for the Note 8. However, there are other advantages of the OLED such as wider viewing angles and deeper blacks.

The Galaxy Smartphone has always excelled in the aesthetics department and the Note 8 is no exception. The Galaxy S8’s ‘Infinity display’ design that peels back the side bezels with a screen that cover almost the entire face of the phone, is used even more effectively in the Note 8. This has resulted in a 6.3in QHD+ display, with image quality second to none. One area where the iPhone 8 Plus beats the Note 8 is the color options. The Note 8 comes with only two color options: Orchid Gray and Midnight Black.

So, considering what’s been said above, it would be fair to declare the Note 8 as the winner in terms of design and display screen.

Camera

Smartphone’s are utilized a lot for taking selfies. So, it’s natural for buyers of Note 8 or iPhone 8 Plus to be concerned about camera quality. In terms of capability, the cameras of iPhone 8 Plus and Note 8 are at parity. However, better contrasts and more vivid colors in the shots gives iPhone 8 Plus the edge. Both phone use 12-megapixel OIS-capable sensors in the rear, with one primary difference—the iPhone 8 Plus uses dual sensors while Note 8 employs the rear sensors.

There are few areas where the Note 8’s camera performs better such as capturing sharper images in some settings, more detail in shadows, and letting users adjust the intensity of the blur effect for portraits. However, there are few things that you can only do in the iPhone 8 Plus such as editing Live Photos and adding special effects to them. Also, there’s difference in the rear camera’s f-stop on the Note 8. However, this does not affect the picture quality and light sensitivity too much. Overall, the iPhone 8 Plus wins the Camera quality and feature battle, which means it’s all square.

Special Features

On to the tie-breaker. There are so many aspects that we could have chosen to compare the two to give a final verdict but since people tend to be interested in the ‘additional’ features a lot, we’re going to see what special features the two phones boast. The Galaxy smartphone has always been known for its ‘special’ features and the Note 8 is no exception.

A noticeable accessory that comes with the Note 8 is the S pen that allows users to take up to hundred pages of notes using a screen-off memo feature. Also, there are multiple ways to unlock the device, including facial recognition, iris scanning, and fingerprint sensor. Another great feature of this phone is App pair, which users can use to open to apps side by side with a single tap. Special features in the iPhone 8 Plus include support for augmented reality apps, and Touch ID.

Final Verdict

The Note 8 has a better design and display but iPhone 8 wins the Camera battle and there pretty much at par in terms of ‘special’ features. So, you’ll have to test-try the phones yourself to determine which one’s better for you.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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The Best Password Managers

Password ManagersRecently, hackers breached the security at Equifax, a credit reporting agency headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The security breach allowed the hackers to get access to the personal information of 143 million Americans. Wow, that’s some feat! They got names, addresses, credit card numbers, and driver’s license numbers. While reports don’t show passwords being part of the loot, it is likely that they’ve been compromised too. After investigating the matter, cyber-security cops learned that the user database in Equifax’s Argentina office had ‘admin’ as both username and password.

Unbelievable! Isn’t it? So, don’t be like Equifax. Use a unique, strong password for every site

The Need for a Password Manager

There are so many websites and programs for which we need to set a password and this can be overwhelming. So, to make things simple for themselves, most people take the easier and often dangerous route of setting the same password for every site they’re on. And, who can blame them, it’s as good as impossible to remember ten or more different passwords.

Now, users aren’t the only ones to blame. Services also contribute to the problem. The demand of the different services vary immensely, with some requiring passwords of minimum length, while others want users to include both upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and symbols in their passwords. To overcome this hassle, most people employ a simple yet dangerous practice of setting the same password for all the sites they’re on.

A major security risk, having the same password for all the sites you’re on will result in someone getting access to all your accounts in case the security of any of the services you use is compromised and this is a serious problem. There’s only one solution to this—a password manager that stores all of your passwords in a single secure database that’s password protected.  You can skip past all the confusion and potential security holes by using a password manager!

How the Password Manager Works

Basic password managers perform only one function—they save your login information for different websites so you don’t have to. Though there’s a possibility to save your login information in your browser, it’ll leave you prone to data theft. So, using a standalone password manager is a far better choice. Password managers encrypt login information and other type of data that users often hand over to a site, such as their address or credit card details. So, with a password manager, you can keep your personal data secure, while keeping the array of passwords that many of us have to manage organized!

Password managers help users to generate unique, complicated passwords that are extremely difficult to crack. Password managers ensure that you have the strongest possible password and they perform the hard task of remembering all of your passwords for you. ideally, a password manager should perform all of the above security functions.

In addition to the above, quality password managers include password ranking, which lets you know which of your passwords are weak and which are strong, giving you the ability to change passwords that are likely to be compromised.

The Best Password Managers

Now that you know why password managers are important and how they work, it’s time to look at the best password managers out there. Following are the 3 password managers that we think are the best password managers to secure you passwords and avoid a security breach.

LastPass

Look up the internet for the best password managers and the first name that’ll pop-up is LastPass. Clearly the juggernaut here, LastPass was one of the first password managers to hit the market and, it was one of the first to offer an easy way to store passwords, both locally on one device and online, synched with other computers and devices.

Once you’ve set up your master password, the password manager allows you to import your saved login credentials i.e. your usernames and passwords from multiple browsers including Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. If you want, you can then delete all of the information from your computer to keep it secure.

DashLane

Launched back in 2012, DashLane got a refreshed user-interface (UI) in 2016. The streamlined interface of this password manager is extremely simple and intuitive. DashLane allows two-factor authentication and gives you the ability to change a host of passwords spanning multiple sites with just a few clicks.

In addition to the above, the password manager will notify you if have an account on a site that’s been compromised, and with the built-in password changer of DashLane, you can prompt the password manager to reset the password to a new, unique, strong one without leaving the interface. Finally, DashLane gives you the option of storing your passwords locally in an encrypted vault or syncing them to the devices and then accessing them on the web.

RoboForm

According to RoboForm, it has the best password manager, and there’s certainly a case to be made in its favor. First, this password manager

Password Manager

allows you to store an unlimited number of logins. Second, it features application logins, multi-platform support, the ability to receive emergency access and secure storage of notes. Third, it provides the ability to sync across devices, cloud backup, and the ability to grant yourself emergency access.

Though it doesn’t boast the same feature list as LastPass and DashLane, RoboForm is a useful password manager to have and you get access to free mobile apps. In short, it’s worth a try!

Final Word

Two, three, ten, hundred! Regardless of the number, if you have more than one password for the different sites you’re on then, it will be hard for you to remember all of them. But then, you can’t compromise your online security by having the same password for all the sites you’re on. The best solution here is getting one of the passwords managers mentioned above—this is in your best interest.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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Go Green—How Transitioning to Green IT can Benefit Your Business

Today, the need for businesses to be environmentally aware is more important than ever before. Being environmentally aware simply means knowing the impact your business is having on the environment. By investing in energy-saving technologies and implementing green policies, you can make your business environmentally-friendly. In addition to having a positive impact on the environment, a green approach to IT and computing can help you to reduce your costs and save money.

When it comes to technology, minimizing the amount of space required for servers and decreasing their impact on the environment is the first step in making your business eco-friendly. A responsible thing to do, going green will have a positive impact on your business. So, what is Green IT and how can it help your business? Let’s take a look.

A relatively new concept, Green IT or green computing promotes the efficient and responsible use of technology and reduction of electronic waste. To reduce electronic waste, you need to determine the amount of energy used by you and where you can cut back. Moreover, you should ensure that your practices to dispose of business waste are environmentally friendly. To ensure adherence to Green IT, you should encourage eco-friendly IT practices in your company such as proper recycling habits, power management and virtualization. More importantly, you should look to manufacture environmentally friendly products.

The importance of going green can be gauged by the fact that the government recently suggested compliance regulations that would be used to certify data centers as green. Some of the requirements for data centers included using green technologies, recycling and using low-emission building materials. With the importance of going green done and discussed, let’s look at some of the benefits of green computing for your business.

Lower Energy Bills

The most obvious benefit of green computing is lowering energy bills. Green information technology practices can help you to lower your overall power usage. Determining the number of computers, printers, phones and other electronic devices in your workplace, how they’re used and how much energy they consumer is the first step in the Green IT practice. Using the aforementioned-information, you can do away with non-essential items which will help you to reduce your overall power usage. This will ultimately result in lower energy bills.

Less Waste

Many companies pay money to get rid of the waste in their workplace. green information technology involves moving to a paperless system. By moving to a paperless system, you can minimize waste significantly in your workplace. This in turn will help you to reduce your company’s carbon footprint and save money.

Reduce Office Expense

You can minimize your general office supply expenses by utilizing more green IT in your business. Paper is an expense that most people are aware of but there are few other expenses that you need to consider. By transitioning to a digital platform, you can reduce expenditure on pens, markers, paperclips and more. How much do your business spend on these items each year? I’m guessing it’s in the thousands. If you save money on these expenditures, then the best thing that you can do is move to a digital and green IT system. Also, when you move to a digital platform, the storage required for the aforementioned-items is reduced, which makes room for other equipment and needs.

Improve Workplace Productivity

Increased productivity is another benefit of employing eco-friendly technology. For example, compared to sifting through a filing cabinet, finding digital documents on the Cloud is an easier and faster way of locating the documents you want. Mobile technology and messaging systems are positively impacting how people perform their jobs. Infact, some companies have reported a 25% increase in productivity after moving to a digital platform. Depending on the type of services the company renders, this increase in productivity could lead to an increase in revenue.

Trickle Down Effect of Green IT

The majority of the data centers consume thousand times more power than office space of equal size.  Additionally, IT equipment accounts for a major proportion of all energy consumed by businesses. So, the trickle-down effect of transitioning to Green IT impacts the cost of business operations on so many levels. Some companies experience a return of investment of a green IT initiative in three to six months. However, there are cases where the impact is almost immediate. Keep in mind that I’ve explained the trickle- down effect of Green IT without even touching the cost-saving potential of virtualization and virtualization is just one aspect of Green information technology.

Save Money Across the Board

If you want to save money across the board then, moving to green IT can do you a world of good. You can utilize the savings you achieve through green IT in other aspects of your business to generate even more revenue. For instance, you can use the money saved in energy bills to improve your marketing efforts or products features. Or, you can reinvest that money to further improve your business such as investing more in social media or hiring additional staff.

Tax Benefits

Finally, if you play your cards right, you can enjoy tax benefits after making the switch to Green IT. Depending on what technology you implement, your green devices could help you get a tax break. For instance, by installing solar panels at their workplace, many businesses are enjoying tax savings of as much as 30% and this is just one scenario where switching to green IT results in tax savings.

In addition to being an environmentally friendly practice, green information technology can help your business to save money and grow. The aforementioned-information reveals exactly how.

To check out Percento’s Green IT efforts, you can visit here:  CLICK HERE

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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Wi-Fi Connectivity is Crucial for Successful IOT Deployment: Here’s Why

Internet of ThingsIn 2011, the United Nations declared the internet a human right. According to the UN report published in 2011, blocking access to the internet was a human rights violation and against international law. So, this establishes one thing: internet access is your right and coffee shops in New York and other parts of the U.S should not be denying you this right.

Having said this — while filing a lawsuit against New York’s coffee shops for denying you your right may be a bit too much, you should definitely exercise your right and ask these shops for their Wi-Fi password. After all, being disconnected from the world, even for a fraction of a second, may cause you to lose money, business or both. Today, there are 3.5 billion internet users — that’s almost half of the world’s population. This is reason enough to stay connected to the internet 24/7.

Bringing Internet Connectivity to the World with Wireless Technology

Right now, the internet community is 3.5 billion strong and it has plans to grow even further. More than half of the world’s population does not have access to the World Wide Web but the world’s technology leaders are working to change this. The tool they’re planning to use to bring internet connectivity to the entire world is wireless technology.

Compared to landline networks, wireless technology is cheaper to extend to the remote corners of the world and enable on every street of the world. For this reason, Wi-Fi technology is the perfect tool to extend the access to internet: a human right, and breakdown economic and infrastructure barriers.

Why Wi-Fi is Crucial for IOT Deployments

The ubiquitous nature of Wi-Fi makes it ideal for IOT deployments. As it’s flexible and easy to connect to, Wi-Fi can be extremely useful for connecting sensors and other things which make up the Internet of Things (IOT). According to a recent report by Aruba, more than 50% of the companies in the U.S have already adopted the Internet of Things (IOT) and this number is expected to grow to 85% by 2019. To successfully deploy IOT, all the companies relied on wireless technology.

Just like fish cannot survive without water, IOT cannot survive without Wi-Fi. This is how important Wi-Fi is to IOT. Today, almost all enterprises have Wi-Fi. However, only a few of them have a network that can support a flux of IOT devices. For successful IOT deployment, a company’s network must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Work to maximum capacity
  • Support numerous applications
  • Support various mobile and IOT devices
  • Ensure network and device access security

Following are four IOT adopters and what they’re using the Internet of Things for.

Enterprises

To enable a smart workplace that drives work effectiveness and employee productivity, enterprises are using IOT to implement remote monitoring and indoor location-based services.

Industrial Sector

To increase visibility and business efficiency, the industrial sector is using IOT to track and maintain industrial functions.

Healthcare

The healthcare sector is using the Internet of Things to maintain equipment/system, track asset, monitor patients, while reducing costs.

Retailers

To improve customer experience and boost sales revenue, retailers are using IOT to implement location-based services.

The Requirements for Successful IOT Deployment and How Wi-Fi can Help Meet Them

The following requirements need to be met for successful IOT deployment:

  • Ability to evolve quickly
  • Capability to easily manage and track the network
  • Ease of connecting ‘things’ to the cloud
  • Integration with existing systems and standardization
  • Security challenges of an ever-expanding network

Wi-Fi can help meet each of these requirements.

Connecting Devices to the Cloud with Wi-Fi

Connecting IOT devices to the cloud is often a problem and many hardware vendors go to great lengths to ensure that devices connect reliably and securely to the cloud. There is a significant advantage of using Wi-Fi here. Without any additional gateway hardware or physical layer protocol bridges, Wi-Fi can connect directly with a secure key exchange. This helps minimize both cost and network architecture complexity.

Integration with Existing Systems

As Wi-Fi is a standardized technology, building an Internet of Things network over it is far less challenging than doing the same with other internet-connectivity options. After they incorporate Wi-Fi into their network, most enterprises will not find any difference between HaLow devices and existing IP. This means that integrating the new Halow standard will be simple. Additionally, as Wi-Fi can be leverage in IOT, scaling network becomes easy, which makes Wi-Fi ideal for future expansion.

Overcome Security Challenges

Though Wi-Fi alone cannot meet the security and policy extensions in IOT strategies, it can easily integrate with options such as cloud management and software-defined networking (SDN) to enable them across the network and that too from a single central management platform.

In addition to ensuring the network’s security, SDN and cloud management helps reduce the time required to market and new features. Additionally, they help optimize performance and enable administrators to track and manage the network on a continuing basis.

Standardization

Wi-Fi’s ubiquitous nature helps simplify global roll out and certifications. This in turn ensures adherence to standards for consistency. The amortization of the R &D effort in consumer applications is another benefit of this. This helps reduce the overall cost for chipsets, silico etc. For this reason, compared to other similar technologies, Wi-Fi is a cost-effective solution.

Today, many companies are using Wi-Fi to implement the Internet of Things. The aforementioned- benefits of using Wi-Fi for IOT devices are just a few of the countless reasons Wi-Fi connectivity is crucial for successful IOT deployment. You may have not realized it yet – but without Wi-Fi, you will always be a step behind your competition.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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The 4 Best Portable Chargers

Power ChargersBattery is the life-force, the fuel that keeps us going. Our life is becoming increasingly dependent on technology and the devices that enable it and what is enabling these devices? Yes, you guessed it right—batteries. Without batteries, technology and the devices that enable it would like a lifeless corpse. Now, when you’re at your home, lounging over the couch, you can easily stretch out to a plug point and charge your device as soon as it is low on power. But, what if you’re out and about and don’t have any instant access to a power source. The only solution here is a portable power charger.

Are you always on the go but need your phone to be accessible to you and others 24/7? If yes, then the last thing you’d want is your smartphone running low on battery. Low battery often triggers a crisis-mode in people as most of us are so dependent on our handheld devices. There’s nothing worse than a phone battery that dies on you when it’s crucial for you to contact someone for an important task. To ensure that doesn’t happen to you, get a portable mobile device charger.

Why Portable Chargers are a Life Saver

Most of the times we need to rush out for work, gatherings, and meetings, etc. And, in this rush, we often forget to charge our mobile devices to the ‘required level’. The result of this is a smartphone battery that runs out of power at some point during the day, and this may be disastrous if it happens while you’re on the go. The best thing in such scenarios are portable chargers. As soon as your battery starts losing power, simply grab your portable charger and power your device to a ‘desired’ level. This is why portable chargers are considered  as life-saving devices.One of the best things about portable chargers is that you can charge a host of devices including tablets, iPhone, iPods, and digital cameras through a single portable charger. Today, more and more mobile device owners are buying these chargers and there are several reasons for this. Following are some of them:

Easy to Carry

As the name suggests, portable chargers are portable devices that can be carried anywhere. Lightweight and small in size, portable charges are designed to ensure portability. As it can be an inconvenient and often frustrating experience, no one wants to carry a heavy and big-sized accessory with them. Thankfully, portable chargers don’t fit that bill. Devices that can easily fitted into purses or handbags or tucked inside pockets of trousers, portable chargers are convenient to carry and this makes them even more likeable.

Can Charge your Device to Full Power

Surely, a gadget that can charge your mobile device on the go would have sort of loophole? Maybe it malfunctions often? Or Maybe if fails to charge the device to full power? If you’re thinking like that then stop now! Portable chargers hardly malfunction and they can charge your device to full power. What more do you want?

No unnecessary Cables and Wires

When you’re on the go, carrying devices that come with ‘too many’ wires and cables can be hassle. As portable chargers don’t come with any such handicaps, they are ‘great’ to carry.

There you have it—why more and more mobile device owners are buying portable chargers. With that discussed, it’s time to the four best portable charges available in the market today.

1.   Anker PowerCore Power Bank

There’s a good chance that you heard of Anker. If you haven’t, then no need to worry as we’re not discussing Anker here. Instead, we’re discussing PowerCore Power bank offered by it. The battery size of this portable charger is ‘huge’. To be precise, it has a 20,100mAh battery. So, before you recharge your Anker charger, you can use it multiple times to charge up your mobile or tablet devices. One con of this charger is that it’s a little heavier than most portable chargers available in the market today.

2.   Nifty External Battery

A compact device, Nifty portable charger doesn’t have a huge battery capacity. But, finished with a textured plastic, the portable charger is lightweight and good to look at.  As soon as you tap this charger, both the USB port lights and the LED array will light up to indicate the remaining battery power, which is great when you’re moving in the dark. Regardless of what device you have, nifty will charge your device pretty fast.

3.   AmazonBasics Portable External Battery Charger

This portable charger comes with different battery capacities, ranging from 5,600mAh to 16,100mAh. You can use the latter to charge a burly tablet while the former can give your smartphone a minimum of one full charge. If you want the perfect balance between power and portability, then go for the 10,000mAh model. Regardless of what battery capacity you get, the AmazonBasics charger will feature 4 LED lights on the front that indicate how much power remains in the battery.

4.   Aukey Power Bank

If you want something similar to Anker Power bank, but a bit cheaper then, one of the best options you have is the Aukey Power bank. A portable charger with a battery capacity of 20,000mAh, Aukey Power Bank features two ports, allowing you to charge two devices at the same time. The portable charger has a light that shows how much power remains in the battery. A disadvantage of choosing this battery is that it chargers slower than most other portable chargers available today.

The aforementioned-portable chargers are the four chargers we think are best portable chargers available today. But, there are many other portable chargers you should consider before choosing a portable charger for your smartphone or tablet device.

Contact Us

Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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Technology is Making Construction Safer: Here’s How

Construction TechnologyTechnology is constantly improving our lives including making construction safer. People working at construction sites are exposed to a variety of risks. This includes the risk of electrocution due to bad wiring, the risk of slips and falls, and the potential for respiratory tract problems due to toxic airborne fibers or asbestos. It also includes, the risk of crushing injuries due to moving and falling objects and risk of on-site accidents due to moving vehicles that are dangerous to maneuver. In short, a lot can go wrong at construction sites including serious injuries and even death. The good news is that technology is helping to mitigate these risks and make construction safer.

Technology and Safer Constructions Sites

Safe construction sites lead to better productivity which ultimately leads to increased profits. With increased construction safety, construction businesses can lower the money spent on repairing damaged equipment, lower insurance premiums, and save time lost due to accidents. All this will result in reduced costs and increased revenues.

Traditionally, construction businesses haven’t been big on adopting the latest technology. However, as mentioned above, people working at construction sites are exposed to a variety of risks. So, if you want to lower construction accidents, decrease costs and increases profits then you must be open to adopting technology that makes construction safer. To help you better understand the importance of technology in construction, following are some of the ways technology is making construction safer.

Centralized Safety Reports

To file safety reports, most construction sites still use paper.  This in turn makes it extremely difficult for site managers to access the information required to determine the optimal ways of making sites safer.  The good news is that things have started to change. Today, a new trend is emerging—more and more constructions sites are starting to enter safety reports into a computer database. And, future innovations are predicted to take that innovation to the next level.

Today, there are computer programs that monitor trends for site managers after gathering all safety reports generated in a certain region. With this kind of information at their disposal, site managers can make decisions that’ll ensure worker safety and help avoid safety issues that have occurred repeatedly in the past.

Drones in the Air

The demand for drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), for commercial use has increased significantly ever since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established rules and regulations for their use in 2016. Ranging from surveillance to inspecting structures, drones are being used on construction work sites for a variety of purposes. More importantly, they’re being used to make construction safer. By identifying potential hazards each day and quickly performing work site inspections, drones make construction sites safer. Moreover, they ensure the safety of construction workers by allowing supervisors to monitor workers throughout the day.

Wearables On the Field

By enabling the tracking and monitoring of people working in hazardous environment, wearable technology makes work sites such as construction sites safer. Seeing the ability of wearable technology to make work sites safer, businesses across the globe are implementing it in their work environment. With the help of wearable technology, businesses are able to detect red flags such as gas, heat, lack of movement, etc.

In case a problem is detected, close- by co-workers and management would be automatically alerted. This will increase the chances of a worker receiving immediate medical attention which in turn will increases his/her chances of recover and/or survival. In short, wearable technology can help you to detect an accident or injury at a construction site before it occurs which makes the construction sites safer.

Mobile Technology

Construction TechnologyYes, you heard that right—something as simple as a smartphone are making construction sites safer. Smartphones combined with cloud technology and mobile app are fully digitizing the construction safety processes. With an alternative in smartphones, contractors no longer need to wait several weeks to get phone service to a work site. And, these smartphones as well as tablets can be used to make construction jobs safer.

With mobile technology, both safety checklists and approvals can be completed in real time. For example, a worker who needs to carry out dangerous work at a large height has to acquire a work permit to start the job. To get the permit, he has to go through several safety checks on the software. Only after he’s progressed through those checks, the worker will be issued a permit to work. This processed information is then digitally shared with management, supervisors and co-workers.

This digitization of safety processes via mobile devices ensures smarter output, increased productivity and real time detection of conflicting activities.  According to NoteVault.com, a company that develops innovative mobile solutions for project teams, many contractors are using mobile technology to provide site managers with important information and ensure that everyone at the construction site understands the flow of work.

As they’re aware of what everyone at the construction site is doing, workers can avoid the collisions and accidents that are a common occurrence at construction sites.

Driverless Trucks

You may or may not know this but driverless trucks are now a reality. In 2015, Royal Truck & Equipment, Inc., a company that offers used trucks to businesses, unveiled its driverless truck. By handling jobs prone to accidents such as installing a traffic signal, inspecting a bridge or blacktopping a road, the driverless truck of Royal Truck & Equipment makes many labor-intensive jobs safer. This includes the work done at construction sites.

There you have it—how technology is making construction safer. In addition to improving the things around us, technology is making them safer. This includes safer construction sites. The aforementioned-things are just a few of the many ways technology is making construction safer.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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Here’s Why You need Business Intelligence Software

Business Intelligence SoftwareThere are no two ways about it—either you know something or you don’t know it. In spite of this, many business owners and managers today are making important business decisions based on limited information. Some act on ‘gut’ feeling or intuition while others rely on reports produced by their IT departments. Often, the picture portrayed by IT reports is misleading. So, relying on spreadsheets to make key business decisions is a mistake.

On the other hand, there is no involvement of data in decisions made based on ‘gut’ feeling. These decisions are based on intuition, which may or may not be correct. Often, decisions based on intuition lead to decreased productivity, frustration and loss of revenue over time. If you want your business to prosper in today’s competitive environment, then you must consider using business intelligence software to assess risks and make key business decisions. Software that allows you to collect, analyze and leverage a wide variety of data, business intelligence helps your business to increase its visibility and gain competitive advantage. Following are 9 benefits of using business intelligence software.

1. Reporting
Data is continuously gathered and analyzed by business intelligence software. With business intelligence software, you can generate a wide variety of reports including reports related to customer service, staffing, operations process, and expenses. While these reports are useful, the biggest benefit of using business intelligence software is the relevance of information. As they contain relevant data that is easy to understand, BI reports allow businesses to make informed decisions.

2. Less Guesswork
Running a business is not gambling and this is something you should always keep in mind. ‘Going with the gut feeling’ or ‘making the best guess’ to make key business decisions is a big NO! The future of your company depends on the decisions you make for it. Surely, you wouldn’t want the future on your business to be dependent on hit- and- miss guesswork. By using business intelligence software, you will get access accurate data and real time updates which in turn will allow to more accurately ‘predict’ how a decision will affect your business in the future.

3. Elimination of Waste
Anything that does not add value to your business is referred to as waste. By identifying the areas of waste in your company that you may not have noticed till now, BI software helps you to eliminate the waste in your company. By eliminating waste, you can increase business productivity and ultimately, revenues.

4. Performance Management
Business can use business intelligence software to set performance goals and track progress on a daily basis. Known as performance management, this ability of the BI software allows businesses to easily and effectively implement and manage performance goals. This is turn helps businesses to improve performances and increase productivity.

5. Easy Access to Data
In an effort to improve their processes, businesses have traditionally relied on several different software systems to gather transactional data. However, as these rich data resources continue to grow, businesses are finding it incredibly hard to manage, evaluate and process the data. By gathering information from multiple and often dissimilar systems, as well as from an organization’s various geographic locations and merging it into a single, integrated gateway, business intelligence software makes it easy for business owners and manages to access all the data for extensive auditing, reporting and predictive analysis.

6. Respond FasterBusiness Intelligence Software
Instead of waiting till the month’s end for it, business owners and managers can use BI software to view reports daily. This in turn will allow them to respond faster to even the most unforeseeable situations. As a business owner or manager, you can get a clearer understanding of what’s happening in the business by using BI to access operating data and customize report views. This will enable you to immediately make changes that improve performance rather than wait until it’s too late.

7. Better Tracking of Inventory
Business intelligence software makes it easy for businesses to track spending, assess suppliers, develop strategies to minimize spending, perform in-depth financial analysis, analyze procurement data and measure performance. Additionally, to minimize extraordinary buying and ensure compliance, the procurement department can turn to the BI software.

The business intelligence software churns our detailed reports that you can use to understand spending trends and patterns to make more informed decisions that conserve resources and increase revenue.

8. Easily identify Problem Areas
Problem areas that might otherwise go unchecked in a business such as poor performance and fraud can be easily identified with a business intelligence software. For example, if your floor manager notices an increased exhaustion of an item but can’t find sales that match that then, a BI software will allow him to track purchases vs. earnings so that the required adjustments can be made.

9. An improved Customer Experience
By integrating BI software into your daily operations, you can improve customer experience and build long-term relationships with them. Using BI software, you can provide a more personalized experience to your customers i.e. an experience which is more in line with their interests and preferences. This in turn will allow you to boost satisfaction and increase customer loyalty.

In today’s competitive world, customers expect an extraordinary and personalized experience and ensuring this requires a lot more than spreadsheets and ‘gut feeling’ to operate at maximum efficiency. To protect your market share or increase it, you don’t need to work harder. You just need to work smarter and this is something a business intelligence software can help you to do.
There you have it—the 9 benefits of using business intelligence software. With BI software, you can improve both decision making and customer experience, which will ultimately lead to business growth.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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How Cool is Apple’s Spaceship Campus?

Apple Spaceship CampusIn 2011, Steve Jobs, a tech guru and co-founder of Apple Inc., unveiled his plan to build a new Apple campus in Cupertino, California. While Jobs didn’t stick around to see his plan become a reality, his compatriots have achieved what he envisioned: creating the world’s best office building. Called the spaceship campus, Apple’s new headquarters is a spaceship-styled structure that has won praise and admiration from all over. So, how cool is Apple’s spaceship campus and what are its most ‘eye candy’ features? Let’s find out.

A Giant Saucer with Features Galore!

Appearing as a giant saucer, Apple’s new spaceship campus will be home to thirteen thousand employees. Want to be impressed? Pay a visit to Apple’s new campus. Boasting a 300,000-sq. ft. of research space, the spaceship campus encompasses a range of impressive features including jogging and cycling trails, a 1000-seater auditorium and a 360-degree central courtyard. Other notable features include underground parking and low energy LED lighting.

One of the largest solar installations in the world, Apple’s new spaceship campus boasts 100% renewable energy. Additionally, it displays the campus and its design to visitors via an augmented reality experience. There’s also a large retail store from where employees can do their ‘grocery-shopping’.

Impressive Underground Auditorium

A venue where Apple will hold key meetings before product launches, the underground auditorium of the new spaceship campus is camouflaged with a round glass pavilion. Also, as mentioned earlier, the auditorium can host up to 1000 people at a time. In short, the auditorium is spacious and pleasing to the eye.

Opportunity to Flex Some Muscles

While working at the new spaceship campus, Apple’s employees will have a real opportunity to flex their muscles and become fit. That opportunity comes in the shape of the campus’s jogging and cycling trails, with the latter featuring over 1000 bikes on site all times.

Park in the Shade

Apple’s new spaceship campus has an underground parking, with 80% of the site surrounded by trees. So, the staff at the spaceship campus can park their vehicles in the shade, protecting it from any and all damage that the sun’s rays can cause.

Some Interesting Facts about Apple’s Spaceship Campus

The dream envisioned by Steve Jobs five years ago is about to become a reality. Apple’s new spaceship campus is nearing completion and it would be open to employees soon. We’ve already discussed quite a bit about the building’s features and what it will look like as a whole. But, there are some interesting facts about the spaceship campus that we haven’t discussed yet, facts that you most definitely need to know about. So, here you go.

The Biggest Pieces of Curved Glass Will Make Up Its Walls

To allow employees to view the landscape facing the building’s exterior or look into the inner garden, both sides of the building are completely surrounded by curved glass. Once the building is completed, over three thousand curved glass sheets will wrap around it.

80% of the Campus will be Green Space

Once completed, Apple’s new spaceship campus will have over seven thousand trees on site. A great feature of many of these trees is that they can adapt to climate change. According to Dan Whisenhunt, the senior director of real estate and facilities at Apple, the company has selected plants that are native to the plan and can tolerate drought. This will ensure that a minimum amount of water is required to irrigate these plants.

The Campus will run on 100% Renewable Energy

Okay, maybe we did mention this before, but we did not go into the detail of things. Apple’s new spaceship campus will run on completely on renewable energy, including biofuels and solar energy. The campus will feature 700,000-sq. ft. of solar panels. Additionally, it’ll be equipped with low carbon central plant on site. Renewable energy from the grid will be used to supplement energy whenever there’s a surge in demand.

Apple’s Spaceship Campus will have a Natural Ventilation System

For more than half of the year, Apple’s new spaceship campus will not require air conditioning or heating. This is due to the natural ventilation system of the campus. Taking advantage of Northern California’s ideal weather, Apple has decided to use a natural ventilation system at its new spaceship campus. In addition to lowering the company’s operational costs, the natural ventilation system will help Apple to lower its greenhouse emissions, which is a major goal of the company.

The Campus will use Recycled Water to Stay Green

Its looks as if Apple has decided to go completely ‘green’. At least, this is what one deciphers from the company’s plan for its new spaceship campus. According to San Jose Mercury News, over 150,000 gallons of recycled water will flow into the spaceship campus each day. This water will then be used for a variety of purposes including plumbing, cooling towers and landscaping.

There will be a Fully-Equipped Wellness Center

We’ve already told you about the cycling and jogging trails of Apple’s new spaceship campus but there’s more—the new campus will have a fully-equipped wellness center where employees can unwind, work out and get completely fit.

Apple’s Spaceship campus will be open to Traffic by the End of this Year

Construction of Apple’s spaceship campus is expected to be completed by the end of this year, after which it’ll be opened for employees and other relevant people. Once completed, the total cost of the project would about half a billion dollars. Looking at these numbers, one can safely say that Apple’s new spaceship campus is going to be something special and all the eyes and attention will be on it once its completed.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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6 Digital Payment Options every small business should consider

Digital PaymentsToday, it’s extremely important for businesses to offer as many payment options as possible to their customers. By doing this, businesses will give payment choices to customers and capture every sale they make. The payment options that you need to offer your customers include cash, checks, credit cards and online/digital payments. However, in today’s digital age, your focus should be on the digital payment options.

Whether you run small coffee shop or a big retail chain, a digital payment option can ensure the future success of your business. Safe money transfer is what a digital payment option enables. Accepting credit card involves a lot more than a simple payment transaction: you must always keep this in mind. Using a digital payment-processing option is smart way to make money transfer and fulfill all your payment-processing needs. With a digital payment option, you can accommodate all types of customer payment requests. Moreover, you can use the digital payment option to gain real time access to payment related information. Following are some of the benefits of using a digital payment option.

Ability to serve various geographical markets

A digital payment option provides multi-site and multi-currency capabilities. This is turn enables you to serve various geographical markets.

Flexible money transfer

You can accept many different types of credit and debit cards as well as other electronic forms of payment with a digital payment option. Additionally, the digital payment option supports card payments for recurring and installment billing. All of this ensures flexible money transfer.

Minimize or eliminate fraud

Minimizing or eliminating fraud is a major benefit of using a digital payment option. Digital payment options help you to prevent fraud by performing card related encryption, authentication and verification.

Ensure excellent customer serviceDigital Payments

Delivering excellent customer service is one of the foremost reasons to use a digital payment option. Providing ample service and exceeding expectations are two things businesses do to ensure customer loyalty. You can significantly reduce customer wait time by using a digital payment option. Moreover, you can use it to process almost all types of payment methods. Finally, you can use the digital payment option to review transactions immediately in order to reduce or eliminate mistakes. All of these things help you to ensure excellent customer service.

Increase profitability

You can increase your business’s profitability with digital payment options. By allowing you to accept multiple credit card types and even mobile payments almost immediately, a digital payment option helps you to increase customer order size and ultimately profitability!

 

As seen above, there are many benefits of using a digital payment option for your small business. Thanks to the advancement in technology, hundreds of digital payment options for businesses are available today. Since so many digital payment options for businesses are available today, choosing the right digital payment option for your business can be difficult. To make thing easy for you, we’re going to look at the 5 digital payment option every small business should consider.

6 Digital Payment Options Every Small Business Should Consider

As mentioned above, there are hundreds of digital payment options for businesses today. For this reason, choosing the right digital payment option for your small business can be difficult. To make things easy for you, following are the 6 best digital payment options for small businesses.

PayPal

PayPal is a digital payment option that you probably already know about. Today, many small businesses use PayPal as the standard way for accepting payments from customers digitally. Using PayPal, customers can buy an item from your website. When you use PayPal, visitors to your site are directed to a page where they can pay you in a number of ways. Using PayPal, you can create, receive and send payments.

Due

You may or may not have heard about due but this digital payment service is one of the best digital wallets for businesses available today. Using this digital payment service, you can easily transfer money to another business in the United States. Moreover, you can use Due to process credit cards to receive payments. Other benefits of using this digital payment option include charge-back protection, reports and analytics and prevention of fraud.

Square

The number one competitor of PayPal, Square is a website where businesses can list and sell their products and services. Using square, you can send and receive payments on invoices. Finally, your customers can use this digital payment option to complete their transactions.

Paymentech

Property of Chase, Paymentech is a digital payment option that allows businesses to accept payments from customers online, in store and via mobile devices. Paymentech accepts a number of payment methods including electronic checks, PayPal and credit cards. Other benefits of using this digital payment option include online reporting and prevention of fraud. Also, using this digital payment option, you can receive money from virtually anywhere in the world.

Dwolla

In many ways, Dwolla is a unique digital payment option. Using this digital payment option, you can send and receive payments through email. It is important for you to know that you cannot accept credit card payments with this payment option. However, you can run the app when using another card reader.

Elavon

The final digital payment option on our list is Elavon. This digital payment option is designed specifically for small businesses. Using this digital payment options, you accept electronic gift cards, electronic checks and debit/credit cards from customers. Moreover, this digital payment option works with Samsung Pay, Android Pay and Apple Pay. Finally, Elavon offers charge-back protection and detailed reports.

To stay competitive, you must offer as many payment options as possible to your customers including digital payment options. The aforementioned digital payments options are 6 digital payment options that every small business should consider.

 

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation

General Data Protection RegulationLast year, the European Union approved the General Data Protection Regulation, also known as GDPR. Boasted as this century’s most important update to data privacy regulation, this provision is aimed to create a more comprehensive, regulated system by improving Europe’s existing data privacy laws. With the amount of data breaches increasing each day, officials realized the urgency of the need to update the existing data privacy laws that were added in 1995 and guidelines created in 1980. The new regulation was passed in April of 2016 and companies have until May 25, 2018 to prepare for this new regulation.

The original Data Protection Directive addressed the variation in laws across the EU and the transfer of sensitive information to parties outside of the EU. These outside parties were required to have stringent data protection policies in order to receive information. Accountability for this regulation was ensured through Data Protection Authorities that were placed within each state.  However, because this was a directive rather than a law, there were questions on its enforcement.

Recently, two different cases were brought to the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding data privacy. The Weltimmo case regarded the ability of data protection regulators to handle matters within organizations outside of the EU. This case involved a Slovakian company who was sued in a Hungarian court. The court ruled that if an outside organization is mainly established in a member state, it is subject to the laws of that state. This prompted a collapse of the “Safe Harbour Agreement,” which regulated the transfer of EU citizen’s data to the US. With differing laws in the two state organizations, it became important to ensure companies were held to the standards the EU set out.

The new laws mandate a simple, legible consent process that clearly outlines the data collected and who it is being transferred to and allows citizens to opt-out of if desired.  Also, if there is a breach, customers and controllers must be notified within 72 hours. Today’s laws will apply not only to governments and businesses within the EU, but also any companies who process the personal data of its citizens. If a breach of core principals is detected, fines will equal either 4% of annual turnover or €20 Million, depending on which is greater.  Smaller fines for things such as failure to notify after a breach or failure to perform risk assessments will only equal to 2% of annual turnover.

This new legislation will be a tremendous improvement to existing laws regarding the privacy and protection of European Union citizens’ data. We look forward to seeing the results it has on each of these countries and learning from their new practices. Stay tuned to our blog for more IT regulation updates, tips and tricks, or company news!

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To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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